Three of the Best Insect Repellents
Kevin Felts 04.24.18
Spring is upon us, and are the biting bugs. Let’s take a few minutes and look at three of the best insect repellents on the market.
Before we begin let’s lay down some ground rules.
First: No wipes. There are various products on the market which generate waste in the form of wipes. We want a product container which can be recycled and will leave as little waste as possible.
Second: We are going to be looking at products which contain DEET, and Permethrin. Some people are opposed to using DEET, but it is very effective in keeping biting bugs away.
Third: The amount of DEET will be based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies. We talked about this in a previous article – How Much DEET Should Insect Repellents Contain? In short, the CDC says “DEET efficacy tends to plateau at a concentration of approximately 50%.”
Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin
Permethrin is more for ticks than mosquitoes. This is an odorless spray which can last up to six weeks when sprayed on clothing.
From my personal experience, skin sprayed with Permethrin will still get bitten by mosquitoes. Rather than repelling insects, Permethrin kills insects which come into contact with it.
Before heading into the wilderness, spray boots, socks, pants and shirts down with Permethrin. This should help keep ticks at bay.
Expect to spend around $10 for a 12 ounce spray bottle.
REPEL Sportsmen Max Insect Repellent
This is the plastic pump spray bottle version which has 40% DEET. According to the CDC studies, DEET effectiveness plateaus at around 50%, and the REPEL Sportsman is 40%. Which means it is right at the plateau of effectiveness.
The pump spray bottle means there is no aerosol propellant. If the pump stops working, simply remove the top and pour the liquid out.
Expect to spend around $4 – $5 for a 6 ounce bottle.
OFF! Deep Woods
When it comes to insect repellent, Deep Woods OFF! is probably one of the most recognized and used products.
I keep a bottle of Deep Woods OFF! in my truck, and several bottles are spread across my backpacks.
A couple of days ago my dogs and I went for a hike. The trip was when I filmed a video for the How Not to Get Lost Hiking article. We ventured into a low area which had a lot of mosquitoes. Deep Woods OFF! was used to spray my clothes, boonie hat, and spread around my ears and neck. Almost instantly the mosquitoes were gone.
Since the 1980s Deep Woods OFF! has been my primary “go to” mosquito repellent.
Deep Woods OFF! usually cost around $6 and up, depending on where it is bought.
Final Thoughts on Insect Repellents
Even though we only talked about three products, there are more insect repellents on the market than someone can shake a stick at. There are aerosol sprays, wipes, creams… etc.
Usually, I tend to stay away from anything with less than 20% DEET. When venturing deep into the woods, it seems anything with 25% – 40% DEET (such as Deep Woods OFF! and Repel), works the best.
Question to the readers, what is your favorite insect repellent, and why?